Solar module prices in the US and around the world are plummeting, and this has far-reaching implications for humanity’s transition from the age of hydrocarbons to the age of electrification. I have repeatedly defended on these pages that renewables will win out once they become economically competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear.
Artificial intelligence is about to trigger explosive changes in our lives, work, and leisure, but few understand what the technology can do beyond Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. These are examples of virtual assistant or ‘weak AI’ technology — the most common example of AI application. But in the data-driven energy sector, sophisticated machine learning is paving the way for ‘strong AI’ to improve efficiency, forecasting, trading, and user accessibility.
Tesla and PG&E recently broke ground on a record-setting energy storage system in Moss Landing (Monterey) California that, once complete, will be the largest such installation in the world. The battery park will be able to dispatch up to 730 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy to the electrical grid at a maximum rate of 182.5 MW for up to four hours using 256 of Tesla’s lithium-ion (Li-ion) Megapacks. Tesla and PG&E will have the option to upgrade Moss Landing’s capacity to bring the system up to 1.2-gigawatt-hours which could, according to Tesla, power every home in San Francisco for six hours.
China, sensing America’s internal political difficulties amidst social justice protests and a poor COVID-19 response, is taking off the gloves: Beijing is said to be in the final stages of approving a $400 billion economic and security deal with Tehran. In addition to massive infrastructure investments, the agreement envisions closer cooperation on defense and intelligence sharing, and is rumored to include discounts for Iranian oil. If finalized, the PRC would gain massive influence in this geopolitically critical region, and simultaneously throw a lifeline to the embattled Mullah Regime.
Energy’s geopolitical and geo-economic importance means it is always at risk of becoming a pawn in wider strategic conflict. The standoff between Beijing, Washington and much of Europe—complicated by China’s ongoing crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong—is no different
Developments in the oil market over the past two months have been catastrophic. From the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the collapse of demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, historic (but ultimately unsuccessful) OPEC+ cuts, to negative prices, the prospects of a crude market rebound seem dim.
In a historic collapse, U.S. oil prices plummeted over 300% on Monday as traders unloaded their positions ahead of the May contract expiration Tuesday. Of all the unpredictable economic swings in financial markets that have occurred since the onset of the global pandemic, Monday’s oil wipeout is without a doubt the most jaw-dropping.
Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Founding Principal of International Market Analysis, and David Wainer, Bloomberg International government reporter, react to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s press conference and the escalation with Iran.
Beijing and Moscow, which saw the first shipments of Russian natural gas to China via the much-awaited Power of Siberia pipeline. The $55 billion project is Russia’s most significant energy undertaking since the collapse of the Soviet Union, part of a larger $400 billion deal to supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas (bcm) per year for 30 years.
The resource-rich and geographically strategic region of Central Asia is continuing to evolve. Once isolated and impoverished, the Central Asian republics have broken free from their Soviet legacies to pursue new economic development strategies. Growing populations, rising energy demand, rapid urbanization, and increasing productivity necessitate the build-out of “hard infrastructure”: transportation, telecommunications, and energy networks. Policymakers in Central Asia therefore need to prioritize the “soft infrastructure” policies, governance, taxes, laws and regulations, to support the construction of these critical projects.
President Donald Trump’s energy dominance narrative – fueled by the prolific production of oil and gas from America’s Shale Gale – recently got a boost from the United States Navy. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division filed a patent for a compact fusion reactor (CFR) last month, one that claims to improve upon the shortcomings of the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks CFR that uses similar “plasma confinement” technology.
The retreat of a small U.S. military contingent in Northern Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, and the perceived abandonment of America's Kurdish Marxist YPG allies, who spilled blood fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda, reverberates beyond the Middle East.
At last month’s United Nations General Assembly, the Lima Group, the U.S.-led coalition of 14 countries in the Americas seeking a solution to the Venezuela crisis, and the International Contact Group, reaffirmed its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called violent attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure in Abqaiq and Khurais “an act of war,” as evidence suggests that Iran is the culprit. This marks the most dangerous escalation between the U.S. and Iran since the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran. However, this confrontation has major implications for the growing U.S. – China strategic rivalry.
Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Founding Principal of International Market Analysis, on the escalation with Iran, and impact to energy markets. Hosted by Lisa Abramowicz and Paul Sweeney.
Dr. Ariel Cohen discusses the Abqaiq-Khurais attacks and oil price volatility
Just days after Iran hawk National Security Advisor John Bolton departed the White House, an unprecedented attack on the Saudi oil facility in Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field took place. Abqaiq is the heart of the Saudi oil system, and while the fire is extinguished, the repairs may take weeks.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) needs a new energy advisor. Late last week the Democratic presidential hopeful tweeted her plan to impose a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing and a suspension of all new fossil fuel drilling leases for offshore and public lands. She wants to ax the most promising American energy sectors on her first day in the Oval Office. The proposal may come from a place of valid concern for the Earth’s climate, but it also demonstrates a dangerous ignorance of global energy security and the U.S. economy. The harebrained scheme raises questions about Professor Warren’s fitness to serve as President.
As markets slide precipitously due to President Donald Trump’s salvo against China, Iran’s latest seizure of an Iraqi tanker in the Persian Gulf –the third such act in recent weeks – wasn’t enough to reverse the oil price free fall. Due to the dire prognoses of the future global economic slowdown, it appears that the only thing capable of rattling oil markets these days is the U.S. - China trade war.
A dangerous escalation is unfolding in the Strait of Hormuz, with Iran and the United States exchanging fire and taking steps that could lead to a potential military clash. Mere hours after the seizure of an unidentified oil tanker and her 12 crew by Iran’s Republican Guard Corps (IRGC) Thursday, an Iranian drone was reportedly downed by a U.S. amphibious assault ship in the Strait just a few kilometers away. The ‘defensive action’ taken by the USS Boxer comes almost one month after Iran shot down a US drone over the Strait. The U.S. may have used a new direct energy weapon fired via 'anti-drone buggy' to disable the drone, a BBC embedded journalist reported from the U.S. naval vessel.